Spanish technology company Indra is developing a low-cost maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) based on the Tecnam P2006T twin-engine piston aircraft.
The Indra-led programme will see contributions from aircraft maker Tecnam and systems integrator Airborne Technologies. In the Asia-Pacific, potential buyers could include countries with long coastlines and limited budgets.
The configuration will be known as the P2006T MRI (maritime reconnaissance intelligence). It will incorporate sensors that will be linked to a ground station through an internet protocol using a line-of-sight data link.
The sensor payload will include the Selex Galileo Seaspray 5000E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a light weight system optimised for ocean surveillance and tracking. The system weighs 48kg and has a range in excess of 100nm (185km).
The P2006T MRI's electro optical system is the FLIR System's Ultra Force 275 HD, which includes an infrared sensor and a high definition colour camera.
Indra, a major provider of shore-based maritime surveillance systems, is also providing the system's ground station.
The first example of the PT2006T will appear at the Airshow Marrakech in April and the aircraft will also be at this year's Farnborough Airshow.
In the MPA role, the aircraft will have an endurance of five hours. It can also operate on automotive petrol. While it cannot replace larger MPA aircraft, the P2006T MRI is potentially cheap to operate, giving countries the option of using larger aircraft for long-range patrols, and the P2006T MRI for littoral surveillance.